Storytelling is one of the best-kept secrets in PR.
Sharing your story can be one of the most powerful and inexpensive ways to promote a business, especially emerging startups.
- “But no one cares!”
- “My story isn’t interesting.”
- “I don’t really have a story.”
Does this sound familiar? You’re not alone! But the real truth is: everyone has a story!
To get started finding your unique story, ask yourself the following questions:
- What makes you different?
- How did you get to where you are?
- What motivates you to keep going?
- What’s ONE topic you can’t stop talking about?
- Where do you spend the most time?
- What is your biggest skillset?
- What was your a-ha moment?
- What impact do you have on the community?
Once you have your story in mind, you have to learn how to be effective in telling it. Learning how to share your story is one of the most important things you can do for your business, and for yourself.
Effective storytelling starts with these 5 things:
- Be authentic.
- Get personal. It’s all about establishing a connection with your audience.
- Ask yourself why other people will care — and then tell *that* story.
- Let others tell your story through testimonials.
- Talk it out with a trusted friend or mentor, and get feedback.
Now that you have your story in mind, we have to find what version of your story you want to tell to the media. As you know, not every story gets covered! Pitching your story to the media takes practice, and these key tips will help get you started:
Know who you’re pitching to, and the types of stories they cover.
Just like good marketing of any kind, landing media placement is all about creating the right connections and building relationships. To start, make sure to do your homework so that you know the best person to hear your pitch. If you’re trying to pitch the ball over home plate, you don’t start by tossing it into the outfield. Find out who covers the types of stories you’re pitching. Then, before you send your pitch, get to know the journalist by digging into past articles and getting to know their style. If your topic has been covered before, come up with a unique angle for your pitch to make sure your story is relevant, and be sure to find the news within your story.
Know the publication’s audience.
Just like you want to do your research into the journalist you’re pitching to, make sure you do your research into the publication they work for. Does that publication typically cover the type of story you’re trying to tell? Will their audience be your audience – in other words, will having your story told by that publication help get your story out there to the people who are looking for your services?
Timing is everything.
Be cognizant of other news stories happening in your area – the midst of breaking news is probably not the time you want to be reaching out to a journalist to cover your business story, unless your business is relevant to the breaking news!
Make your story an easy yes by providing access to resources.
Keep in mind that like many of us, journalists are doing more work with fewer resources. This means that you should keep your opening pitch persuasive but concise while also offering to provide as many resources as needed to make covering your story as easy as possible for the journalist.
For instance, the best stories have good characters. If you’re pitching an upcoming event that you’re hosting, offer to provide multiple interview subjects for the reporter to talk to — like someone who will benefit from the event or who has an emotional element to add to the story, in addition to the event host. 24% of journalists and influencers say that providing the product, event, or issue details caused them to pursue a story.
Unsure of how to make the first connection? Journalists prefer email.
Unless you already have a prior relationship with a reporter and are on texting or talking terms, email is the best way to make the first connection. 92% of journalists agree that email is where they want PR pitches to come from so that they can open it and respond when they have time. Be sure to know the rules about how to send a public relations email pitch (most journalists have learned AP News style press releases), but also know when to break the rules. For instance, skip the official jargon-filled email subject line and create something catchy.
Include the who, what, when, and where, but focus on the why.
It’s a no-brainer that we have to include all of the important details in our media pitch, but the best press releases focus on why anyone would care about the story. What is the community impact? Why is this story important? Why now? Why ever? Why?!
Keep in mind that every story chosen for a publication or newscast is chosen by people who are deciding what they feel their audience needs or wants to know. With every story that’s pitched, they are asking, “why” would this story be relevant or timely or interesting. Just like you need to sell your pitch, they need to sell the final story to their audience.
Connect the dots and make your call to action clear.
Make sure you are clear about what you are both offering to and asking of the journalist. Do you want coverage in advance of an event, during an event, or at some point in the future? What elements of your story are you able to make available? Is there a call to action for the audience? In today’s newsroom environment, we often see press releases shared verbatim on media websites. If it’s not clear to the journalist or their audience what you want them to do, they likely won’t connect the dots on their own to do it.
So: you have your story. You know how to tell it. And now you have the key insight needed to set your pitch up for success. It’s time to get pitching – we can’t wait to see your story in the headlines!
If you feel like you need some extra support telling your story and pitching to the media, that’s okay – we’re here to help! We’re launching an exciting summer webinar series, and storytelling, along with key ways to win your media pitch will be one of our key topics! Sign up for our email list so that you can reserve your spot as soon as sign-ups are available. And if you need more immediate help, reach out today to connect with our team.